Rafael Devers’ second homer of the game Sunday, a two-run shot in the ninth inning, lifted the visiting Boston Red Sox to a 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals and the top wild-card playoff spot in the American League.
The Red Sox rallied from a 5-1 deficit to finish the series sweep and will host the New York Yankees, who defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Sunday, in the AL wild-card game Tuesday night.
Boston and New York finished with 92-70 records, but Boston won the season series 10-9.
Kyle Schwarber reached on an error to open the ninth for the Red Sox on Sunday. Xander Bogaerts struck out, but Devers connected with a 2-1 pitch from Kyle Finnegan (5-9) for his 38th home run of the season, a shot to center.
Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8) pitched an inning for the win, and Nick Pivetta worked the ninth for his first save.
Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, Schwarber, Bogaerts and Devers singled off Erick Fedde to make it 5-3. Alex Verdugo later lined a double to the gap in right center, scoring two runs to tie it.
Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez left in the sixth inning with a left-ankle sprain.
Ryan Zimmerman, who hasn’t said if he will return next season, was 0-for-3 with an RBI walk for Washington (65-97) before being removed to an ovation in the eighth inning, and catcher Alex Avila had a two-run double in his final major league game.
Washington starter Joan Adon was impressive in his major league debut, allowing two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked three.
Boston starter Chris Sale was lifted early after allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. Every out came via strikeout.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Josh Bell doubled and scored on a double by Jordy Mercer.
In the third, the Nationals loaded the bases on a walk and two singles, and Zimmerman worked a walk against Sale to make the score 2-0.
Devers fell behind Adon 1-2 leading off the fourth before homering to center.
Alcides Escobar doubled to start the Washington fifth. Juan Soto was walked intentionally, and both runners moved up on a passed ball. After Bell walked, Zimmerman struck out, but a run scored on Mercer’s groundout. Avila then doubled to right, and the Nationals had a 5-1 lead.
Boston got a run with two outs in the sixth when Christian Vasquez grounded to second baseman Mercer and Verdugo beat the throw to second, allowing Jose Iglesias to score.
–Field Level Media